Page E2.1 . 03 April 2002                     
ArchitectureWeek - Environment Department
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  • Multifamily Solar

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    Multifamily Solar

    by Helmut Krapmeier and Eckart Drössler

    CEPHEUS (Cost-Efficient Passive Houses as EUropean Standards) is a demonstration project that is examining the viability of solar and low-energy construction in Europe. Fourteen inexpensive buildings with a total of 221 residential units have been built and are being evaluated through a standardized measurement program. The results of the Austrian projects have been published in a book that proposes to demonstrate that reducing the consumption of conventional fuels is both possible and recommended in this climate. This is the story of Wolfurt, Vorarlberg, low-cost, compact multifamily terraced housing on the slopes of the Bregenz Forest. Architect Gerhard Zweier has provided eight families with dividable floor plans, ample daylight, and large gardens. Although the energy conservation results are not perfect, the example is instructive. — Editor

    Four 1400-square-foot (130-square-meter) living units and one 700-square-foot (65-square-meter) studio are contained in two identical rectangular buildings. The two-story units have their own adjacent gardens and each top floor apartment has a large terrace.

    The central stairwell is accessible from all sides and gives access to every floor, allowing for a high degree of flexibility in use. The larger apartments can be divided into two studio or office units, for example.

    The compactness of the form minimizes heat loss despite the large amount of glazing, approximately 40 percent of floor area. Because the daylight and view quality were intended to be equal among all living units, the window surfaces were aligned without regard for the orientation.   >>>

    This article is excerpted from CEPHEUS: Living Comfort without Heating by Helmut Krapmeier and Eckart Drössler, with permission of the publisher, Springer Verlag.



    ArchWeek Image

    Multifamily terraced housing on the slopes of the Bregenz Forest, Wolfurt, Vorarlberg by architect Gerhard Zweier.
    Photo: Ignacio Martinez

    ArchWeek Image

    The thermal system includes solar collectors and a wood pellet furnace.
    Image: Gerhard Zweier


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